Education

Sacred Geometry

Definition

Geometry can be referred to in the "sacred" sense as the realm of irrational numbers which derive from nature. More than just shapes such as rectangles, squares, circles, etc., "sacred geometry" makes explicit those fundamental mathematical laws and principles which govern nature. Wittkower asserts that Plato, following in the tradition of Pythagorus, "in his Timaeusexplained that cosmic order and harmony are contained in certain numbers." (Wittkower, p.105, 1988) He also states:

Probably continuing Egyptian usage, Pythagoras applied theoretical findings to natural phenomena and discovered wonderful and unexpected regularities and relationships. His observations led him to believe that certain ratios and proportions embodied the absolute truth about the harmonic structure of the world. (Wittkower, p. 147, 1988)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr makes reference to the relative importance of "sacred geometry" in the preface to Keith Critchlow's Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach. Although his relationship of "sacred geometry" is through Islam, one can still extract useful notions as to its importance, especially in the religious world. He asserts:

There is within the spiritual universe of Islam a dimension which may be called "Abrahamic Pythagoreanism", or a way of seeing numbers and figures as keys to the structure of the cosmos and as symbols of the archetypal worlds and also a world which is viewed as the creation of God in the sense of Abrahamic monotheisms.

Here, we have the general description of "sacred geometry" and its relative importance to certain scholars. Judging from their interpretations, there exist an unseen connection between the universe, as well as those things that fall under its domain, and "sacred geometry". The possibility of this "invisible relationship" makes available the coexistence of a cosmic, universal order and harmony within nature. Again, the common denominator being those numbers consistently found within nature being the "gateway" towards the understanding of this relationship.

Relationship to the Universe and Nature

It has been mentioned that "sacred geometry" is found within numerous aspects of nature. One example of this link is in the growth of plants. Ardalan and Bakhtiar explain how the grow of a plant relates to the harmonious, rhythmic progression of the so-called Fibonacci series. The stem of a plant rotates as it grows. As it climbs during its growth, the spiraling relates to the fraction of a complete rotation, from one leaf to the next, around the stem. The fraction of growth is proportionate to the so-called Fibonacci series. (Ardalan and Bakhtiar, p. 25, 1973) Many other examples could be referred to here such as the spiral ratio of pine cones. Also, the horns of some animals and certain shells relate to the golden proportion or logarithmic curve. Thus, it can be assumed that the argument of "sacred geometry" and nature's relationship is, indeed, possible.

From these examples, the following becomes increasingly apparent. There is an interconnection between the universe and nature with harmony and proportion. If so, it becomes possible that harmony and proportion are the fundamental "laws" which govern the grand "cosmic order" within the universe. They allow for the general comprehension of the assumed "universal order". This suggested theory is extended to the architectural expression via the use of "sacred geometry" which are spefically inherent in nature. De Lubicz asserts that proportion belongs to geometry and harmony. "Proportion is the comparison of sizes; harmony is the relationship of measures; geometry is the function of numbers." (de Lubicz, p. 61, 1977)

Thus, one can postulate as to whether the basic, underlying principles of the universe are all the same. If they are, then an analogy can be drawn from one relationship to the next. We see in living organism, in some form or fashion, a cyclical nature. "...the cycle of fertilisation, birth, growth, maturity, senescence, death, and renewal is common to all hierarchies." (West, p.92, 1993) In a similar tone, Wittkower provides an insightful perspective. Here he concludes that "...the Renaissance attitude to proportion was determined by a new organic mathematical approach to nature in which everything was related to everything by number." (Wittkower, p. 152, 1988) Within this everything is related to everything approach is the ordering principle of hierarchies. If true, these hierarchies provide a further inter-relationship to the natural order of things. Again, West asserts:

Individual man is a hierarchical organism, or unity. He is part of a higher organism or unity: mankind. Mankind is part of organic life, which is part of earth, which is part of the solar system, which is part of our glaxay. Each represents a higher hierarchy or realm, with inferrable higher degrees of sensitivity and sentience, etc. (West, p. 92, 1993)

Relationship to Man

We can infer, from the above, that man is related to nature as is nature to the universe. Therefore, man is related to, or an analogy of, the universe. As with the universe, man, too, is bound by the underlying principles of geometry which manifest themselves everywhere. Adds de Lubicz, "but if a man constitutes an ensemble, a Unit that has its harmony, he is himself part of a whole. He cannot be born without being in relationship with his environment, and this environment extends as far as the solar system." (de Lubicz, p. 61, 1977) This relationship finally provides a comprehensive glimpse of the cyclicle nature of the natural order and universal continuum. 

Relationship to Architecture

In the grand scheme of things, geometry makes itself visible, time and time again, once the outer layers of implicity are uncovered. If geometry is found within so many aspects of the universe, then it is logical to conclude that its use in architecture is just as feasible. If used in architectural design, geometric principles will provide an extension from the harmonious, rhymic, natural order of the universe to the architectural artifact. In a similar fashion, Wittkower states that:

We have already seen that the architect is by no means free to apply to a building a system of ratios of his own choosing, the ratios have to comply with conceptions of a higher order and that a building should mirror the proportions of the human body; a demand which became universally accepted on Virtruvius' authority. As man is the image of God and the proportions of his body are produced by divine will, so the proportions in architecture have to embrace and express cosmic order. (Wittkower, p. 104, 1988)

Just as geometry enables the universal continuum to exist, architecture serves as the edifice from which geometry can extend itself to the man-made world. It has been suggested previously that geometry has continued to display itself in the architectural design. Many cultures have embraced its use to manifest beautiful architectural expressions. Wittkower suggests that "all higher civilizations (classical) believed in an order based on numbers." (Wittkower, p. 146, 1988) He goes on further to assert that geometry was instrumental in Greek and Renaissance aesthetics. He notes how the Renaissance artists and architects believed in an all embracing numerical harmony in terms of the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition. As well, Kemetic architectural design readily utilized geometric principles to articulate the natural order.

We have seen where numerous civilizations of antiquity incorportated geometric principles within their architectural design scheme. This insight allows a full circle return to the universal continuum. The suggested theory that there exist a cosmic or natural order is extended to the architectural expression via the use of these fundamental principles. Thus, incorporated within its confines are the notion of a universal law of harmony, proportion and man. All intertwined within the weaving web of the ever, encompassing universe. Our task now is how to manipulate geometric principles in order to extend this universal continuum to architecture.

how is the artist or writer to function (survive and produce) in the community, outside of institutions?

Arturo Romo-Santillanoinnovative writingLos Angeles literatureSesshu fosterurban literature

You, young artist, young writer. Go anywhere you like. But know that a community was there before you—this land was not a magically unpeopled wilderness to be colonized but a place of history, secrets, struggles, heroes and issues.  What made it a community was not magic, but labor. Maybe if your labor and your work relates to them, if your aesthetic process is open to that community, your work will not be superfluous. Your work might be useful. You may not have to suddenly flee, like a tourist from the off-season. As an artist or writer anywhere, you’ll need community to survive. Your community-building not only helps you survive, it helps you produce.

all you mfa candidates, all you college students, all you awp hangers-on, all you high school students wondering what to do (which is the same thing as how to live, how to make a life of your own, how to save your own life), all you secret poets looking for support, all you striving artists who need a job, what about you? 

  1. most will sooner or later find themselves outside institutionalization.
  2. dreams tell us that the life of the mind goes on regardless. regardless of institutions or individuals, the life of the mind is a collective dreaming. the dream goes on whether anyone is making movies and documenting it, holding conferences and seminars about it or not. the mind goes on.
  3. the institutional imagination, with its schedules and regulations, with its tests and prerequisites, will be insufficient on the outside, in a broader world of completely indifferent and more democratic sidewalks, offices, transactions, atmospheres. it’s true that sometimes high school or college provides the only encouragement working class students receive for creative thinking. and unlike academia which scaffolds individual efforts and conceives of art and writing as individualistic practices, the broader world is indifferent. institutions fetishize rational discourse, operating on the level of rationalization, as if sitting around a conference table in negotiation is going to be a major life skill for you. perhaps not! an institutionalized aesthetic production process you may have formulated in academia may not work for you outside. 
  4. you must get outside, and feel all right, producing some creativity that can stand the daylight (and the smog). 
  5. you may perhaps object that “the community” lacks community; in fact, there seem to be people there who are actively hostile, perhaps violent, toward ‘art,’ ‘dreams,’ ‘poetry,’ etc. you may object, that unlike in academia or other institutions, there were rules for discourse and behavior and you didn’t feel exposed to hostility. but make no mistake, millions of people that the media and Hollywood depict as nobodies and extras in the background (people of color) or zombies or killers (working class people) they are dreaming, too— some are having visions; all of us out here live inside civilization’s weird mythologies.
  6. for all its talk (all of its attention to crossing T’s and dotting i’s), in academia and institutionalized civil forums, little dreaming occurs there. they emphasize rationalizations; their discussions take place inside bureaucratic mythologies. the creative thinking found there may be mostly recycled early 20th century concepts. 
  7. in the community (that lacks community), indeed they are dreaming. some feel hostile. there may be violence. many have been defeated; they feel they have been defeated. that doesn’t stop their dreaming, mythologizing, their visions. all of which helps you to figure out how to survive as an artist, writer, dreamer, mythologist, person of vision. stay alive. don’t get hurt. make a living. commitment to the community— that you make— while you are doing it, while you are producing, how to survive? 

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The Artistic Dividend: The Arts’ Hidden Contributions to Regional Development

Ann Markusen and David King

 

Artistic activity is often viewed as a discretionary ele- ment in a regional economy, rather like icing on a cake of industry, finance and basic services. The eco- nomic impact of the arts has generally been gauged by totaling up the amounts that patrons spend on performances and restau- rant meals, parking and shopping in districts around major the- atres, symphony halls and galleries. The occupation “artist” conjures up dual images of a few star painters, composers and photographers who land the prestigious grants and the many aspiring actors, dancers and writers waiting tables to underwrite creative time in attic rooms.

In this study, we show that this is an impoverished view of the arts and its role in the regional economy. It treats the arts as a con- sequence of, even a parasite on, a successful business economy. We show, on the contrary, that artistic activity is a major and varied contributor to economic vitality. We suggest that the productivity of and earnings in a regional economy rise as the incidence of artists within its boundaries increases, because artists’ creativity and specialized skills enhance the design, production and market- ing of products and services in other sectors. They also help firms recruit top-rate employees and generate income through direct exports of artistic work out of the region.

Using an occupational approach rather than a focus on major arts organizations and venues, we define artists broadly to include actors, directors, performance artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, authors, writers, painters, sculptors, and pho- tographers. We showcase several artistic careers that are highly entrepreneurial — where the artist is not starving, working menial jobs or waiting for the next grant, commission or role but actively seeking diverse markets and venues for their work. Many artists directly “export” their work to customers, firms and patrons else- where, enabling them to live in the region, to contract work from other individuals and to generate work for and prompt innovation among suppliers. Artistic networks, often enhanced by new spaces for working and gathering, are helping to spread entrepreneurial ideas and practices both within and outside the region.

Artists, like firms, have locational preferences and gravitate towards certain regional economies. We show that some metro- politan areas in the US host larger contingents of artists than oth- ers of similar size. We proxy the significance of the artistic divi- dend by the incidence of artists in a regional workforce. We find the pre-eminence of New York and Los Angeles as artistic poles softening as artists spread out toward selective “second tier” cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Albuquerque and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Artistic specialization is not a function of rapid growth — fast-growing Atlanta and Dallas/Ft Worth have below-average concentrations of artists, as do slower-growing Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

This “artistic dividend” is a product of long term commitments by philanthropists, patrons and the public sector to regional arts organizations, arts education and individual artists. It is enhanced by entrepreneurial activity among artists and fostered by (and contributes to) high urban quality of life. Through extensive interviews with artists in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (MN) a region with relatively high artistic presence, we show the importance of amenities, quality of life and an active and nur- turing arts community in attracting and retaining artists. For the artists showcased, we document how they have built their careers, why they decided to live and work in the region, and the ways in which their careers have enhanced the success of other individu- als and businesses in the regional economy.

Artistic activity as a significant contributor to the regional econ- omy needs nurturing. In comparison to the very modest amounts they devote to the arts, state and local governments pour hundreds of millions of dollars into downtown revitalization, new plant attraction and even big box retail developments in the suburbs. Vis- à-vis the arts, large physical performing and visual arts spaces receive the lion’s share of public and patron support while the labor side of the equation is under-nourished. Our work suggests that artist-dedicated spaces such as older industrial buildings made into studios and new or renovated live/work spaces and occupation- dedicated gathering venues such as the Open Book in Minneapolis deserve public and patron support. Patrons and arts foundations should consider unconventional grants to arts occupational groups to help their members position themselves in larger national and international marketplaces, enhancing the export orientation of the artistic sector. Similarly, channels of connection between regional businesses and the artistic community could be enhanced to facili- tate contributions by artists to business product design, marketing and work environments. Finally, among artists themselves, we coun- sel more attention to and cooperation in entrepreneurial pursuits, including changes in attitude toward artistic careers.

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Crickets Are Not a Free Lunch: Protein Capture from Scalable Organic Side-Streams via High-Density Populations of Acheta domesticus

Abstract

It has been suggested that the ecological impact of crickets as a source of dietary protein is less than conventional forms of livestock due to their comparatively efficient feed conversion and ability to consume organic side-streams. This study measured the biomass output and feed conversion ratios of house crickets (Acheta domesticus) reared on diets that varied in quality, ranging from grain-based to highly cellulosic diets. The measurements were made at a much greater population scale and density than any previously reported in the scientific literature. The biomass accumulation was strongly influenced by the quality of the diet (p<0.001), with the nitrogen (N) content, the ratio of N to acid detergent fiber (ADF) content, and the crude fat (CF) content (y=N/ADF+CF) explaining most of the variability between feed treatments (p = 0.02; R2 = 0.96). In addition, for populations of crickets that were able to survive to a harvestable size, the feed conversion ratios measured were higher (less efficient) than those reported from studies conducted at smaller scales and lower population densities. Compared to the industrial-scale production of chickens, crickets fed a poultry feed diet showed little improvement in protein conversion efficiency, a key metric in determining the ecological footprint of grain-based livestock protein. Crickets fed the solid filtrate from food waste processed at an industrial scale via enzymatic digestion were able to reach a harvestable size and achieve feed and protein efficiencies similar to that of chickens. However, crickets fed minimally-processed, municipal-scale food waste and diets composed largely of straw experienced >99% mortality without reaching a harvestable size. Therefore, the potential for Adomesticus to sustainably supplement the global protein supply, beyond what is currently produced via grain-fed chickens, will depend on capturing regionally scalable organic side-streams of relatively high-quality that are not currently being used for livestock production.

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Framing Bias: Media in the Distribution of Power

Robert M. Entman

School of Media and Public Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052

This article proposes integrating the insights generated by framing, priming, and agenda-setting research through a systematic effort to conceptualize and understand their larger implications for political power and democracy. The organizing concept is bias, that curiously undertheorized staple of public discourse about the media. After showing how agenda setting, framing and priming fit together as tools of power, the article connects them to explicit definitions of news slant and the related but distinct phenomenon of bias. The article suggests improved measures of slant and bias. Properly defined and measured, slant and bias provide insight into how the media influence the distribution of power: who gets what, when, and how. Content analysis should be informed by explicit theory linking patterns of framing in the media text to predictable priming and agenda-setting effects on audiences. When unmoored by such underlying theory, measures and conclusions of media bias are suspect.

doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00336.x

This article proposes integrating the insights generated by framing, priming, and agenda-setting research through a new, systematic effort to conceptualize and under- stand their implications for political power. The organizing concept is bias, that curiously undertheorized staple of public discourse about the media.

With all the heat and attention it incites among activists and ordinary citizens, bias is yet to be defined clearly, let alone received much serious empirical attention (Niven, 2002). The term seems to take on three major meanings. Sometimes, it is applied to news that purportedly distorts or falsifies reality (distortion bias), some- times to news that favors one side rather than providing equivalent treatment to both sides in a political conflict (content bias), and sometimes to the motivations and mindsets of journalists who allegedly produce the biased content (decision-making bias). This essay argues that we can make bias a robust, rigorous, theory-driven, and productive research concept by abandoning the first use while deploying new, more precisely delineated variants of the second and third.

Depending on specific research objectives, the distinctions among these three con- cepts can be crucial (Scheufele, 2000). The present article suggests that parsimonious

Corresponding author: Robert M. Entman; e-mail: entman@gwu.edu.

Journal of Communication 57 (2007) 163–173 a 2007 International Communication Association 163

Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916

 

Framing Bias R. M. Entman

integration can nonetheless serve at least two goals. First, systematically employing agenda setting, framing, and priming under the conceptual umbrella of bias would advance understanding of the media’s role in distributing power, revealing new dimensions and processes of critically political communication.1 Second, such a pro- ject would offer normative guidance for scholars, for journalists striving to construct more ‘‘fair and balanced’’ news, and for the many citizens and activists who feel victimized by biased media (cf. Eveland & Shah, 2003).

Most of the studies that do explicitly explore bias focus on presidential cam- paigns and administrations and find little evidence of decisive or consistent, liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican bias (D’Alessio & Allen, 2000; Niven, 2002; but cf. Jamieson & Waldman, 2002; Kuypers, 2002). Yet this conclusion sits uneasily alongside findings, not usually filed under ‘‘bias’’ scholarship, that reveal news consistently favoring one side. Examples of such apparent content bias include the media’s images of minorities (Entman & Rojecki, 2000; Kang, 2005) and their coverage of U.S. foreign policy (Entman, 2004). The consolidating question, then, is whether the agenda setting and framing content of texts and their priming effects on audiences fall into persistent, politically relevant patterns. Powerful players devote massive resources to advancing their interests precisely by imposing such patterns on mediated communications. To the extent we reveal and explain them, we illuminate the classic questions of politics: who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell, 1966)?

Reconsidering connections

Scholars can shed new light on bias by examining linkages among the three concepts that have received such intense scholarly scrutiny. We can define framing as the process of culling a few elements of perceived reality and assembling a narrative that highlights connections among them to promote a particular interpretation. Fully developed frames typically perform four functions: problem definition, causal anal- ysis, moral judgment, and remedy promotion (Entman, 1993, 2004). Framing works to shape and alter audience members’ interpretations and preferences through prim- ing. That is, frames introduce or raise the salience or apparent importance of certain ideas, activating schemas that encourage target audiences to think, feel, and decide in a particular way (see, e.g., Gross & D’Ambrosio, 2004; Iyengar & Simon, 1993; Kim, Scheufele, & Shanahan, 2002; Price, Tewksbury, & Powers, 1997).

The strategic framing contests that occupy the heart of the political process take place in the first instance over the agenda (Riker, 1986). Agenda setting can thus be seen as another name for successfully performing the first function of framing: defining problems worthy of public and government attention. Among other things, agenda problems can spotlight societal conditions, world events, or character traits of a candidate. The second or ‘‘attribute’’ level of agenda setting (McCombs & Ghanem, 2001) centrally involves three types of claims that happen to encompass the core business of strategic framing: to highlight the causes of problems, to encour- age moral judgments (and associated affective responses), and to promote favored

164 Journal of Communication 57 (2007) 163–173 a 2007 International Communication Association

R. M. Entman Framing Bias

policies. Priming, then, is a name for the goal, the intended effect, of strategic actors’ framing activities.2

The oft-quoted but misleading phrase that inaugurated the modern study of media effects is that: ‘‘the media may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about’’ (Cohen, 1963, p. 13, emphasis in original). Although the distinction between ‘‘what to think’’ and ‘‘what to think about’’ is not entirely clear, the former seems to mean what people decide, favor, or accept, whereas the latter refers to the consid- erations they ‘‘think about’’ in coming to such conclusions. The distinction misleads because, short of physical coercion, all influence over ‘‘what people think’’ derives from telling them ‘‘what to think about.’’ If the media really are stunningly successful in telling people what to think about, they must also exert significant influence over what they think. 

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